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Student Panel Selected for Dialogue with Condoleezza Rice

Student Panel Selected for Dialogue with Condoleezza Rice

Student Panel Selected for Dialogue with Condoleezza Rice
BVU American Heritage student panelists and alternates, from left: Tesia Posekany, Andrew Schanbacher, Hannah Puderbaugh, Mariana Ramirez, Meghan Harmening, Jonathan Ehrlich, and Kirsten Bielen (Michael Boyle is studying abroad and was not present).

Six Buena Vista University students will get the chance of a lifetime - to interact in person with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her appearance on campus this fall.

Rice, who was the U.S. Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009, will be the guest laureate for the 21st William W. Siebens American Heritage Lecture on Oct. 12. Her activities that day will include an afternoon discussion with the panelists before an audience of BVU faculty, staff and students. That evening, she will present a formal lecture to invited guests in the fields of business, law, politics, education and religion.

According to Jamii Claiborne, associate professor of digital media and moderator for the student panel, the following students have been selected through a competitive process from a field of nearly 40 applicants:

  • Kirsten Bielen, a senior elementary education major from Redwood Falls, Minn.
  • Michael Boyle, a junior marketing and corporate mathematics double major from Perry
  • Jonathan Ehrlich, a junior biology major from Storm Lake
  • Tesia Posekany, a junior biology major from Woodburn
  • Hannah Puderbaugh, a junior English and communication studies double major from Peru
  • Mariana Ramirez, a junior history major from Schaller

Two alternates selected are:

  • Meghan Harmening, a sophomore corporate mathematics and finance/banking double major from Marshall, Minn.
  • Andrew Schanbacher, a junior biology major from Newhall

"To be honest, it was very difficult to choose just a few students from the rather large pool of applicants we had this year," says Claiborne. "We feel great about this group and how they will represent BVU on stage next fall."

"Being selected as a panelist is a rewarding and encouraging honor," says Michael. "I have been familiar with Dr. Condoleezza Rice from a young age, and to share the stage with her will be a great opportunity and experience for the other panelists and me."

In applying to be a panelist, students were asked to formulate questions they would like to ask Rice, and the reasons for their interest in being on the panel. "We had so many excellent candidates, many of whom put together really top quality applications," says Claiborne. "The committee was thrilled to see such interest and excitement about the lecture series, and about Dr. Rice."

Over the summer, the student panelists will read books by and about Rice, and discuss their research over social media. "When we all return in the fall, we'll get to work right away, meeting regularly to discuss ideas, develop and refine questions, and get ready for the October event," explains Claiborne.

The faculty coaches are: Dr. Swasti Bhattacharyya, associate professor of philosophy and religion; Dr. Thom Bonagura, assistant professor of biology; and Dr. Jeremy Horpedahl, assistant professor of economics.